BY CHARLES MCDONALD
An historically important Derby Bentley which has remained in one family since 1937 has been found in a garage in a property in Surrey to where it was delivered brand new in April of that year.
Captain Richard Noble O.B.E of Fonthill in Hurtmore had a handful of high end motor cars of the 1930’s period. He purchased a second-hand Derby Bentley in 1936 but soon desired a larger and improved design. He placed an order with Bentley for a brand-new Derby 4-and-a-quarter-litre. The wheels were set in motion and by April 1937 the Bentley was delivered to his driveway.
Captain Noble was never fully happy with the Bentley and wrote several letters of complaint to the directors of Bentley and to London Bentley showroom managers. Bentley stuck by their reputation for customer care and satisfaction and did all that was necessary to put a difficult WW1 Captain at ease. There was nothing wrong with the Bentley or its engineering as the letters (which are a nice – and a very rare inclusion – with the sale of this Bentley) show.
The Bentley remained in regular use with Captain Noble right up until his passing in 1965. There are many invoices from the 1930s – 1960s showing servicing and works done to keep the vehicle in fine fettle. It was in 1965 that the Bentley was put into the garage at the home and left there until the son (also called Richard Noble) passed away. The son left his entire estate to his older sister (Angela Evans of Pengersick Castle in Cornwall). She set up a charity with the use of the inheritance to ensure that the castle in which she resided since 1970 could be improved and maintained for many years to come – she passed away in her 90’s a few months later.
The estate of Richard Noble Jr was dealt with by the charity directors over a period of time which resulted in the Bentley being discovered some 47 years later in the garage where it had been left in 1965. It was then transported down to Cornwall , stored, and then sold to the current custodian.This Bentley has been kept in its highly original condition in a garage and now is available to purchase as is.
No renovation work and restoration has ever taken place on the vehicle, the cylinder head is the only mechanical piece to have received specialist repair as it had suffered frost damage. The engine does run well bearing in mind that it did not run for a period of 53 years. Clutch gears and brakes function well. Electrics and gauges work, with the exception of a couple of bulbs and the wiper motor. Original paintwork complete with its marks and blemishes makes this time warp Bentley very special along with a very well preserved plush dark blue leather interior – you will not find a nicer interior on a Derby Bentley that has never been restored.
This is a genuine and rare opportunity to acquire a very original Pre-war Bentley Sporting Saloon that remains largely untouched, which still has its original paperwork including original bill of sale, Bentley delivery note, guarantee, tools check list and Park Ward specification build sheet along with heaps of original letters of correspondence from the directors and managers of Bentley in the 1930s – many of these letters bare the signatures of the directors and managers, which is of great importance and interest to the Bentley archives department of RREC and many more organisations.
This Bentley is certainly not a restoration project but can be improved, serviced etc – that would be down to the discretion of the new owner. As to be expected, servicing along with new tyres and checking components is advisable before taking to the road. The current custodian sees the Derby as a historically important investment “whether it be viewed as a car or a work of art or just a piece of British Motor history.” Kirk Gilroy, acting for the owner, describes the car as “a fine pre-war motor car which would grace any collection.”
For further information regarding the sale of this Bentley, please contact the Editor. firstname.lastname@example.org
Viewing is very much welcomed. Transportation and delivery of the Bentley is available to any destination.